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Uphold Me

August 17, 2004 Leave a comment

Uphold my steps in Your paths,
That my footsteps may not slip.
Psalms 17:5 (NKJV)

Sometimes the speed at which life goes roaring by makes me feel as though I am riding a bike down a steep hill through a narrow path between the dense trees. I am holding on for dear life. In times like these, I come to the psalms to breathe and to breathe deeply.

In the midst of life’s challenges, David offers up a prayer of hope in God’s unfailing grace. He has recounted to God his commitment to live pleasing before God and keep far from the paths of the destroyer. Yet even as he lists his “disciplines” before God, David offers a prayer:

Uphold my steps in Your paths,
That my footsteps may not slip.

Some would suggest that it doesn’t make sense for David to change his tone from proclaiming his commitment to God to asking God for help, so they translate this passage, “My steps have held to your paths, my feet have not slipped.” But it makes perfect sense to me that in the midst of seeking to serve the Lord, David would acknowledge his own desperate need for grace and cry out for help.

This makes me think of the promise in Jude: “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…(vs 24). As much as I value the disciplines, and as much as I believe we commit our lives to living faithfully to God, I realize I am a complete failure.

The blur of life soon overtakes all my “self improvement programs.” After years of following Christ, I still feel weak. In fact, weaker. Identifying with the villains of Scripture like Cain and Judas comes much more easily now than before. In seeking to take hold that for which Christ took hold of me, I come more and more to realize the darkness within my own soul. Like St. Symeon of old, I can confess that “I am a murderer, I am the villain, I am the most corrupt of all.”

And so like David, my only hope, my only refuge is the Lord. I cry out, “Uphold my steps in your paths, that my footsteps may not slip.” As I stumble down this hill called life, I realize that God is in fact, holding me upward into glory.

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